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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University August 16, 2004 | Vol. 33 No. 42
Obituary: 'Miss Mamie' Brown, JHU's Longest-Serving Employee, Dies at 83

Mamie Brown, who came to Johns Hopkins in 1945 as a part-time bus girl at Levering cafeteria and stayed at the university for nearly 60 years, died July 26 at the age of 83.

She was thought to have been the university's longest-serving employee. She arrived at the Homewood campus when Isaiah Bowman was president and worked here under 9 of the university's 13 presidents.

After a few years at Levering, "Miss Mamie" as she was known around campus, was transferred to the dining room of what was then the only dormitory on campus, AMR I, to assist with the very formal daily dining of the time.

"Every day, we would set the table up with the linens, and about 500 to 600 students would come in their shirts and ties and order what they wanted from the menu," she told The Gazette in 1995, when she was celebrating her 50th anniversary with the univers-ity. "Of course it was all men, and the food was better. We had to peel the potatoes for every meal. Nothing was frozen like it is today."

While Miss Mamie was busy feeding the approximately 2,000 students attending Hopkins in the post-WWII years, she met Minnie Hargrow, known on campus as "Miss Minnie," and the two became close friends when Miss Mamie was transferred in 1970 back to her old cafeteria, where Miss Minnie then worked. Miss Mamie had worked in Levering ever since, doing just about every job conceivable, from dishwasher to cashier to working in the steam lines. In later years, she had pared her schedule back to only four hours a day.

Miss Minnie, who now works in the President's Office, describes her longtime friend as genial, polite and unflinchingly particular about her work.

"She always made sure her counter, her station was kept nice and clean. She wanted it spotless. 'Don't slobber food on those plates,' she would always say, and 'Keep the line moving,'" Miss Minnie said. "She was a very good worker, well-liked. She had a lot of friends here."

Miss Minnie, who for 10 years drove Brown to work, said that it often seemed the two would be at Johns Hopkins forever.

"I haven't been able to go to the cafeteria since she passed," she said. "We were good friends. We never once had an argument, never, in all those years. She was a good woman and a kind spirit."


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